“Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! Here I am at Camp Granada…”

We are at camp, despite the bus driver’s determination to not get us there.

For long range trips, the district usually chooses to have us take a chartered bus.  Generally, chartered busses are far nicer than the large bus you’d find in the normal district fleet.  They often have better seats with seat belts, wider seats that can make even 6th graders seem smaller, and, most importantly, more storage space the amount of the luggage carried to camp (suitcase and sleeping gear).

The bus this morning had none of this.  After hearing that he was planning on starting to  load us from the back of the bus, I grab my grade-level partner’s gear, and that of my own, and head to the front of the already-long line queuing up in front of the bus driver to load up.  I arrive to find two small crevices that can fit my partner’s longish bag along with my own suitcase, but both bags virtually fill the remaining space, save for 2 or 3 more bags that he is able to cram into the storage space.  I look behind myself and see more than half of the kids still waiting to load up their gear.

We have a problem.  After haggling between my partner, our principal, and the bus driver, it is not unlike bargaining at a swap meet.  Finally the bus driver, after explaining that he has only the lone storage area in the rear of the bus, which is now full, figures out that he can begin using the rear seating area for luggage.  Several of the grade level parents, determined to see their kids off for their own sanity at this point, organize themselves to help the bus driver, and, finally both luggage and eventually children get loaded on to the bus for the 1 1/2 drive to our camp location.

Except the 1 1/2 hour drives does presume to mean that the driver knows how to get us there.  He finally pulls away from our school, makes a wrong turn to get out of the housing tract, and finds himself trying to negotiate a narrow turn to avoid sending the bus into the large ditch the city had built for a sewer line.  Eventually, we complete the turn, and the bus, after some confusing driving decisions by the driver, makes it on to the freeway, and we get to the Camp, 1/2 hour late, thanks to our luggage issues, and some real bad driving directions.  <sigh>

While both my teaching partner and I were not exactly doing back flips with having to uproot our lives this week to come to camp, thanks to this bus driver, we are now jumping at the chance to get off the bus to get away from a bus driver who might be better served riding on a short bus, rather than driving a long one.

Arrival, thankfully, goes as planned.  Teachers get situated away from the 6th graders, in an area of the camp’s location normally reserved for leadership retreats.  The camp connects to what is described as a resort, so there are private cottages and rooms on the camp site for teachers to use.  That means I get my own room, which is good, as I’ve brought some work to do, in addition to random activity ,which in this case means monitoring the fantasy baseball draft in one of my Scoresheet Baseball leagues.

But to do any of that, I must have internet access.  Already, I’m using my Droid’s hotspot rather than the resort’s wireless internet, and I’ve grown doubtful of my ability to blog the camp experience as I had to hoped to do.  And, most frustratingly, as had been the case last year, I am begging the camp staff for coffee access.  Despite having a well-regarded steakhouse as part of the resort’s grounds, caffeine appears to be one of those forbidden items (at least before 11 a.m.) that is even harder to get than internet access.  Shortly after I request it, a knock on my door from the camp’s assistant director brings me a coffee maker and a can of Yuban.  I will be making me own.  No long cold walk to the Starbucks 3 miles up the road for me.

As I type this, I am still holding out hope for consistent internet access.  But at least I have coffee, such as it is.

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